A deep inhale ignites a spark, illuminating the lungs. A heavy breath out brings small white clouds, ready to invade another unsuspecting body.
It becomes symbolic, almost, that with each drag the Cal State University system’s goal of banning cigarette smoking on campus goes up in smoke.
Various areas on campus are still cloaked in cigarette smoke, affecting those who try to avoid it. As Cal State Fullerton’s efforts to thwart smoking on campus have been seemingly ineffective, creating a designated smoking area at CSUF would benefit both those who want to inhale a cigarette and those who don’t want to be anywhere near it.
The CSU Board of Trustees has delegated authority to CSU campus presidents to adopt rules to regulate smoking on campuses.
Under the President’s Directive No. 18, “California State University, Fullerton prohibits smoking in all interior and exterior campus areas and locations,” including any buildings or vehicles on university-owned, leased or rented land, including parking structures and lots.
Recent health studies have prompted the school’s efforts to reduce secondhand smoke, according to the directive.
However, the directive’s failure to enforce its intentions has further doomed the lungs of its students and faculty.
Since the smoking ban was executed in August 2013, student and faculty smokers could be seen convening behind the Humanities building to get their nicotine fix.
Since CSUF’s Facilities Management built a $100,000 brick enclosure, complete with a “SMOKE/VAPE FREE CAMPUS” sign, at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester in the interest of safety and functionality, the new popular smoking section has become the shady trees at the Humanities building facade.
In the interest of everyone’s health, CSUF is in desperate need of a smoking section. Forty million people in the United States are addicted to smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s study, “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults – United States, 2005-2014.”
Among those, approximately 7 million are smokers between 18 and 24 years old, according to the CDC. Roughly 16.7 percent of smoking Americans are those who fall in the average college age.
As stated under Directive No. 18, “the success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, civility and cooperation of all members of the campus community, including visitors.” It also states that accountability for keeping the smoking ban in order ultimately falls on smokers to not light up around campus.
University Police rarely has any involvement in the enforcement of the directive, according to a presentation by University Police Capt. Scot Willey. Trying to confront smokers is an act that could put some people in harm’s way over something small, according to Willey.
“While it’s really important for some people here, it’s not really important to us,” Willey said.
The smoking section should sequester campus smokers into an area that is preferably not in front of a busy building.
Allowing other campus-goers to know exactly which areas of campus to bypass in their attempts to keep away from secondhand smoke.
Once the powers that be open their eyes and accept the truth, then perhaps others can freely open their lungs and enjoy a breath of fresh air.